Surprise? CBS’s Gayle King on Ukraine: ‘Big Bowl of Nothing?’

Listen to the Article!

All three networks broke into regular programming on Wednesday with live coverage of the release of the Ukraine phone call transcript. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell offered the most hyperbolic response, comparing Donald Trump to a gangster “godfather” making an obvious threat. She also exonerated Joe Biden as simply “following the policy.”

CBS, on the other hand, offered a surprise. Liberal This Morning co-host Gayle King wondered, “There's not an explicit quid pro quo here.... Is this a big bowl of nothing or is there really something here?”

On NBC, Mitchell connected, “The president of Ukraine, a small country, beleaguered by Russia, congressionally mandated weapons, $400 million are withheld just days before this call. Then the call takes place.” She declared, “People have analogized this kind of conversation to when, you know, a godfather would say, you know, 'I want you to do something,' everyone knows what is involved here.” 

 

 

Regarding Joe and Hunter Biden, Mitchell acted as the defense: “Biden was following the policy, Joe Biden then Vice President, was following U.S. policy in going after that prosecutor. The President is really crossing a line in raising Biden at all.”

However, Michael Goodwin in Wednesday’s New York Post explained Hunter Biden’s questionable role in all this: 

Hunter Biden was being paid $50,000 a month by an energy company that was at one time the focus of a corruption inquiry. Reports have said Biden used his VP position to demand that the inquiry be dropped and the prosector involved fired, or America would withhold aid.

...

Put it this way: Would Hunter Biden have gotten that job if his father were not vice president? Ditto for a sweetheart investment deal Hunter Biden got from the Chinese government. On at least one occasion, he reportedly flew with his father on Air Force Two to China to seal a lucrative agreement there.

And it’s not just conservative outlets making this point. In ABC’s live coverage Terry Moran explained to George Stephanopoulos: 

 

 

[Trump] will argue corruption is a huge problem in Ukraine. It's part of the problem with giving money to Ukraine. It ends up in the wrong hands. President Obama was aware of that. The EU is aware of that. And he will argue that Vice President Biden's son Hunter Biden, who is on the board of directors of a major energy company which is involved in some of that corruption, was a legitimate subject of national interest. And that is what he is talking to the President of Ukraine about.  

Stephanopoulos seemed irritated by Moran's focus, complaining about the “smell test.” He insisted, “I understand that will be the defense. Does it pass the smell test once he explicitly mentions the name Joe Biden?”

Over on CBS, Gayle King offered another take you might not expect from some in the liberal media, asking reporter Paula Reid: “There's not an explicit quid pro quo here.... Is this a big bowl of nothing or is there really something here?” Reid responded: 

 

 

It's an open conversation. It's murky. I agree with you completely. There's no quid pro quo. There's no explicit promise or threat. That's great for the President's attorneys to argue. That’s what they’ll argue. 

King concluded, “But it does seem, depending on your feelings about President Trump, will depend on how you feel about this statement.” Clearly, ABC’s Moran and CBS’s King haven’t gotten the talking points that NBC’s Mitchell promoted. 

Partial transcripts are below. Click “expand” to read more. 

NBC Breaking News coverage
9/25/19
10:09

ANDREA MITCHELL: But when he says, “I want you to do me a favor” and raise the issue of a prosecutor, in fact that prosecutor was used by the European Union, the United States, all of the professionals in the international arena as not doing enough on corruption. That prosecutor was the problem. It wasn't that he was aggressively looking into the Bidens. It was that he was not doing enough to root out Ukranian corruption. So Biden was following the policy, Joe Biden then Vice President, was following U.S. Policy in going after that prosecutor. The President is really crossing a line in raising Biden at all with the new president, that they had not ever talked.

SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: You mean separate and apart from whether there was any quid pro quo. 

MITCHELL: Exactly. 

GUTHRIE: And military aide. Just looking at this document, you think it’s problematic. 

MITCHELL:  There are a lot of problems here. That as well as that initial paragraph seems to be asking him “Do me a favor,” asking him to find a Hillary Clinton e-mail connection to the origins of the Mueller problem. Because Ukraine, Manafort was representing the Ukranian opposition, the pro-Russian government that was ousted. 

GUTHRIE:  It’s not explicit, but the context certainly suggests that. 

MITCHELL: People have analogized this kind of conversation to when, you know, a godfather would say, you know, “I want you to do something,” everyone knows what is involved here. The president of Ukraine, a small country, beleaguered by Russia, congressionally mandated weapons, $400 million are withheld just days before this call. Then the call takes place. And then only afterwards in recent days when this becomes explosive is the money released. 

 

ABC Breaking News coverage 
9/25/19
10:12 AM ET 

...

TERRY MORAN: It's fair to say the Democrats will move forward on the basis of this alone. There's more to be found out as they develop the facts in committee hearings. The question will be before the country are those sentences, are the President's actions, in the national interest or in his own personal, political interest? He will argue corruption is a huge problem in Ukraine. It's part of the problem with giving money to Ukraine. It ends up in the wrong hands. President Obama was aware of that. The EU is aware of that. And he will argue that Vice President Biden's son Hunter Biden, who is on the board of directors of a major energy company which is involved in some of that corruption, was a legitimate subject of national interest. And that is what he is talking to the president of Ukraine about.  

STEPHANOPOULOS: I understand that will be the defense. Does it pass the smell test once he explicitly mentions the name Joe Biden? 

MORAN: Well, Joe Biden was involved with the dismissal of a prosecutor. That prosecutor actually had dropped the investigation of the company that Hunter Biden, Joe Biden’s son, was on. So that will be hashed out. 

10:16 AM ET 

STEPHANOPOULOS: Jon Karl, as we look at this now, as we get this, we still haven't seen the whistleblower complaint. I want to pick up on what Mary was saying. This is going to fuel the calls for impeachment. Hard to imagine — you have 200 members of Congress for impeachment before this transcript comes out. What happens next? 

JON KARL: Well, first of all, you already had the Speaker of the House come out and basically make the argument, not for an impeachment process, but for impeaching the president. Adam Schiff this morning, the Chairman, Democratic Chairman of the House Intelligence Committe said based on what we already know he should be impeached. So, I think even before this comes out the House was clearly moving in the direction toward impeaching the President. It's hard to see how this doesn't add fuel to that. 

 

CBS Breaking News coverage
09/25/19

10:06 AM ET

GAYLE KING: There's not an explicit quid pro quo here.

PAULA REID: Exactly. 

KING: Is this a big bowl of nothing or is there really something here? What will be the process now to determine how significant this is? 

REID: Well, legally it's important to note that the Justice Department has looked at what happened in this phone call. They did not clear him on all violations of law but they say, “We don't see a campaign violation here.” Right? So, it seems going forward this will be like so many other things in the Trump administration, a political fight on Capitol Hill. And it will be up to Democrats and Republicans to decide if they believe this rises to the level of conduct that should support of articles of impeachment. 

It's an open conversation. It's murky. I agree with you completely. There's no quid pro quo. There's no explicit promise or threat here. That's great for the president's attorneys to argue. That’s what they’ll argue. But I think a lot of people, a lot of voters in the midwest may ask, "Why on earth would you go to a foreign leader to talk about your political rival? Haven't we been through this for two years?"  

GAYLE KING: But it does seem, depending on your feelings about President Trump, will depend on how you feel about this statement. 

 

NB Daily Trump Impeachment Ukraine ABC CBS NBC Video Gayle King Terry Moran George Stephanopoulos Donald Trump
Scott Whitlock's picture


Sponsored Links